A local Danish company benefits from a study tour to Holland

Icon Hairspa is a medium sized company from the city of Sorø on Zealand, that since 2004 has been in the market selling quality organic hair products mainly in Denmark, Norway and Australia. As a future prospect, Icon Hairspa is right now considering selling organic hair products to the Dutch market as well. On behalf of Icon Hairspa a small group of AP programme Marketing Management students following a line called Internationalisation at Zealand Institute of Business Technology has made a survey of the Dutch market. Information about the Dutch market was gain in DK and by students travelling to Holland.

How companies, students and institutes of education can connect

In this case the students got the opportunity to use their theoretical knowledge about how to make surveys in real life by going to Holland and being taught about Dutch business culture at The Haague University and HZ University in Vlissingen and even more important the students went and interviewed hair salons in the city of Amsterdam, Haag and Vlissingen and asked them about their businesses and about their interest of buying organic hair products from Icon Hairspa.

In some cases, the students even got business cards from the quality hair salons, that was interested in buying the organic hair products from Icon Hairspa and by that Icon Hairspa maybe will be able to make an instant sell.

Sales Director and Co-owner Anker Geertsen from Icon Hairspa was given the results of the surveys at the student’s oral exam the 20th of December 2016, where there was held a Shark Tank presentation. Anker Geertsen was especially happy about the information given to him from the interviews the students have made with the quality hair salons in Holland.

Information about the use of organic hair products today in Holland and of course the interest of a future buy from the quality hair salons. How the hairdressers are education in organic products, that the students could tell about also.


Below, you find an article on how one of the students experienced the study tour to Holland.
The main reason for the study trip was the project we were doing for a Danish haircare SME. The goal was clear: We had to research the Dutch market and present our findings for the management in that firm. The secondary reason was educational. The students wanted to experience working out in the field, instead of sitting at home and doing boring desk research. The third and probably most important reason, according to students, was the social aspect of this trip.

A small bunch of young guys and girls going to Netherlands to do… stuff… How cool is that!? The cost of the trip was not cheap, but that is the best deal we could get. This is the reason, that only the most dedicated students took this opportunity and came along on this journey. We are the six Internationalization elective students and this is our story.

Den Haag -the Arrival
We stayed at a nice little hostel called ‘Stayokay’. It is located central, so we could walk to both The University of Haag and to the city center. We have arrived during the Sunday evening. After a short examination of our accommodations, we headed downstairs to meet with our teachers: Ms. Thomsen and Mr. Bruhn. The purpose of the meeting was to go through our academic programme for the trip, so everyone could be on the same page and aware of what to expect from the coming days. To help our concentration in this challenging task, the boys together with teachers had to order some of the fine local beer at the hostel’s bar.

The study
The first two days were split between classes at the University of Haag and our own research assignment. The classes began at 9:30 in the morning and usually ended at around 15:00 – 16:00. The rest of the day was dedicated to observation of the city and our own research. The University itself was a breathtakingly large place with hundreds if not thousands of students studying there.

During our classes, we have touched upon subjects like Marketing Concept, its development and importance, as well as Consumer Behaviour. We have also been introduced to Dutch culture and business, which was an important part of our own research. Category Management was presented in relation to the ways you can influence you customers, using market and segment analysis, as well as different strategies and tactics. Topic of Branding was analysed as well with emphasis on the ways to create a successful brand. We also received classes in Sustainability, which turned out to be a much bigger subject than any of us expected.

Visit from a young representative from a large international company was a nice change of pace. He told us about the realities of working on the global market, the challenges and the opportunities. Finally, we got to experience a boost to our innovative thinking, thanks to the Innovation Boot Camp, provided to us and the Dutch students by our own Ms. Thomsen.


Wednesday the 2nd of November we took a trip to HZ University of Applied Science in Vlissingen. We were educated on Tourism Industry; how big it really is and how it have changed in recent years. Later on, we were looking at Buying Behaviour in Netherlands, but from a more psychological angle, which was very unconventional, but at the same time, refreshing. Our visit concluded with a lunch break, prepared for us by the university’s staff.
Before we went back to our hostel, we visited the coastal part of the town. It was silent and peaceful, as if abandoned.

The commonly lively coastal town was resting before the next tourist season. We went ahead with our research, before meeting at the coastal line and watching the enormous cargo ships slowly moving in the distance.

Company visit
Before going to Amsterdam, we visited Weighpack company, which is the world market leader in packaging machines. We have learned about the challenges of being market leader and the innovative ways to preserve the position on the market. The biggest advantage of the firm was their control over most parts of their supply chain. We were allowed to visit their manufacturing facility where we learned more about management of one’s supply chain and value chain.

We arrived to Amsterdam Thursday evening. The rest of our tour we were staying at Backpacker Hostel, which was just across the IJ river, north of central Amsterdam. To reach across the river we needed to use a ferry, which was an interesting way of transportation. The hostel was quite big and filled with international students from all around the world.

The last two days we were mostly on our own, mixing studying with sightseeing around the city. During our research, we visited many different areas of Amsterdam. Form the largest department store De Bijenkorf at the famous Dam Square, to the oldest area of the city near The Oude Church. Every part of Amsterdam had its own charm, and we enjoyed every minute of our stay.

Final words
This was an amazing study trip. Not only did it help us improve on our professional skills, but also provided us with unforgettable moments and cultivated strong friendships.